Home-based staff qualification changes

Learn about the transition of home-based early learning services to a qualified workforce, which will occur between 2020-2025.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Home-based early learning services
  • Service managers
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako

Home-based early learning services must comply with the transition to a qualified workforce.

Changes for home-based education and care services came into effect on 1 June 2022 as a result of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Amendment Act (No 2) 2021 and the 5 year transition to a qualified home-based workforce. You can find out more about this on the Education Conversation website.

Education (Early Childhood Services) Amendment Act (No 2) 2021(external link)

5-year transition to a fully-qualified home-based workforce – Education Conversation(external link)

The next stage in the transition came into effect on 1 January 2024. 

The following quick guides give a helpful review of the changes. 

Quick guide for standard funded licences [DOCX, 24 KB]

Quick guide for quality funded licences [DOCX, 30 KB]

What's changing?

For standard-funded services, these regulations mean that from 1 January 2024, 60% of educators on a licence must hold a home-based service qualification. 

Quality-funded home-based services to be eligible for quality funding, a service must have a higher percentage of qualified educators. From 1 January 2024 the percentage qualification requirement for quality funded services is 80% and a maximum of 20% of educators able to be in training or induction. 

When we talk about the ‘percentage qualification requirement’, this is what we’re referring to. See ‘What qualifications are needed’ for details about home-based service qualifications.

What qualifications are needed

In standard funded licences, we’re only concerned with the minimum number of qualified educators. 

Quality funded licences have both a minimum required percentage of qualified educators, and a maximum allowed percentage of unqualified.

Funding rates

The picture below shows how the requirements from 1 January 2024 work for a quality-funded licence of 10 educators. Qualified educators are represented by blue figures. Unqualified are shown in green. 

Example combination on a quality funded licence of 10 educators

Clear downloadable version of the above image [DOCX, 41 KB]

How does the count of educators work?

The count of educators for the percentage qualification requirement, is a headcount of those working in your service. In order to be counted, an educator must have provided education and care for children enrolled in the service for at least four days in a calendar month.

Each month, educators can only count towards the percentage qualification requirement in one licence of a service provider. For example, if you’re moving an educator from a standard-funded licence to a quality-funded licence you are unable to count the educator on both licences in the same month.

Note that this restriction only relates to this particular requirement. You can still claim funding subsidies on both licences for the children attending with those educators, subject to the usual funding rules. If an educator changes service providers in a month they can be counted in both licences.

When working out the number of educators you need to meet the required percentage, if it works out to be a fraction, use normal rounding rules. That means, if the number is 0.5 or above, you round up to the nearest whole number. If the number is below 0.5, round down.

Use the spreadsheet below as a guide to work out how many of your educators need to be qualified.

Number of qualified educators required [XLSX, 35 KB]

What does this mean for quality-funded services?

Quality-funded home-based services will need to meet these regulatory requirements as well. However the key difference is that to be eligible for quality funding, a service must have a higher percentage of qualified educators. 

As you will be aware the count method in the regulations is different to that previously set out in the ECE Funding Handbook. The count method for quality funded licences changed from weekly to monthly, to match the new regulations, from 1 June 2022. This includes changes to the rounding rules.  

In standard funded licences, we’re only concerned with the minimum number of qualified educators. Until 2025, quality funded licences have both a minimum required percentage of qualified educators, and a maximum allowed percentage of unqualified. More detail can be found in ‘Funding rates’.

Funding rates

Quality funded licences were given this category of ‘partially qualified’ educators to allow those working on these licences before 2021, when 5 credits at Level 4 was the minimum requirement, time to complete a full qualification. That doesn’t mean that educators need to have been working before 2021 to be included as partially qualified.

If you have any more

questions about how this requirement works, you can contact us at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz. 

How does it work if we are applying for a new licence?

The regulations set out a slightly different count method for probationary licence applications, recognising that no one will be providing education and care at this point. You will need to submit a list of educators intending to work on the licence and their qualifications. The calculations will be done on a straight headcount basis. 

What qualifications are needed?

The required qualifications are: 

  • A Level 4 or higher ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework or recognised by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand for registration purposes. 
  • A Level 3 ECE qualification completed before 1 June 2022. 
  • A primary teaching qualification. 
  • Te Ara Tuarua (the level 5 Kōhanga Reo qualification) or higher (Tohu Whakapakari). 

International qualifications that have been assessed by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as comparable to relevant New Zealand ECE qualifications or primary teaching qualifications will also be accepted. 

If your qualification is listed on the NZQF but identified as ‘Discontinued’ or ‘Expired’, it is still an accepted qualification. Some older versions of qualifications have slightly different names, but the qualification numbers remain the same. These versions will also be accepted. The list below may be helpful. 

Accepted qualifications for home-based education [DOCX, 54 KB]

If you are unsure about whether your qualification meets the new requirements, contact ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz.

Evidence of educators’ qualifications

Certified copies of qualifications are required to be kept by the service provider and provided on request by the Ministry. 

For educators completing their studies, a record of enrolment in a required qualification must be kept by the service provider. This must clearly show the date the programme commenced. 

Record keeping

Services must keep a monthly staff record to show how they are meeting the percentage qualification requirements, along with a master staff record to show all educators and their qualifications as well as their entry and exit dates from the service. 

Chapter 3 B 4 – Funding handbook

The spreadsheet below is an example of how a service might record this information.

Example of master and monthly record [XLSX, 42 KB]

Funding rates

At the end of the 5-year transition, there will be only one funding rate available – the quality funding rate.

Until 1 January 2025, the rate at which you are funded will depend in part, on the percentage of your home-based educators with qualifications by the due dates in the tables below. You must also meet the specific coordinator requirements set out in the funding handbook.

Services must apply to move to a quality-funded licence by sending a completed EC11B Form and the required documentation to their local Te Mahau Office.

Quality funding rate
Date requirement is effective

Minimum % of your educators with a required qualification

(Fully qualified)

Maximum % of your educators able to be in training or induction*


Educators with at least 5 credits towards a required qualification at Level 4 or above

(Partially qualified) 

From 1 January 2021 30% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From 1 June 2022 50% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From January 2023 70% 20%

All remaining educators on the licence

From January 2024 80% 20% This category no longer applies

* Educators who do not yet have credits towards a required qualification.

Educators who join a quality funded licence without a completed qualification can only remain in induction for a maximum of 6 months, or enrolled in training up to a maximum of 2 years.

Standard funding rate
Date Minimum % of your educators with a required qualification
Until 1 June 2022 No qualification requirements
1 June 2022 10% 
1 January 2023 30%
1 January 2024 60%

Frequently asked questions about the 5-year transition(external link)

Visiting teacher support payment

There is funding available through Budget 2020 for home-based services on the standard funding rate as they transition to a qualified workforce. If your service has at least one educator studying toward a Level 4 ECE or Te Ara Tuarua qualification, you are eligible for up to $5092 (inc. GST) annually. This payment is split over the 3 funding periods per year and is to help visiting teachers provide extra support to these educators in training. The payment is a per-service payment, not per educator.

The payment will be processed at the same time as operational funding payments. In order to receive the payment, you must attest that you have had an educator studying during the last funding period. You must also keep records of educators that are studying (for example, evidence of enrolment in study towards a level-4 qualification or Te Ara Tuarua). You will be required to supply these documents to our audit or licensing teams if requested, and the payment may be recovered if no evidence is available.

The payment has been provided to help visiting teachers offer some extra support to educators in training. This might be through additional contact hours, specific coursework discussion times with individuals, or study groups with multiple educators. There is no requirement to complete records of how the payment has been spent.


Find out if you are eligible in the flowchart below. You could apply from 1 October 2020, and the first payment was on 1 November 2020. You can be paid in arrears to cover the period from July–September 2020 onwards.

*Funding periods are June–September, October–January, and February–May.

 Visiting teacher flowchart

Application form

Online application form(external link)

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